1 “But now they mock me, those who are younger than I,
whose fathers I disdained too much
to put with my sheep dogs.
2 Moreover, the strength of their hands –
what use was it to me?
Men whose strength had perished;
3 gaunt with want and hunger,
they would gnaw the parched land,
in former time desolate and waste.
4 By the brush they would gather herbs from the salt marshes,
and the root of the broom tree was their food.
5 They were banished from the community –
people shouted at them
like they would shout at thieves –
6 so that they had to live
in the dry stream beds,
in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.
7 They brayed like animals among the bushes
and were huddled together under the nettles.
8 Sons of senseless and nameless people,
they were driven out of the land with whips.
9 “And now I have become their taunt song;
I have become a byword among them.
10 They detest me and maintain their distance;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
11 Because God has untied my tent cord and afflicted me,
people throw off all restraint in my presence.
12 On my right the young rabble rise up;
they drive me from place to place,
and build up siege ramps against me.
13 They destroy my path;
they succeed in destroying me
without anyone assisting them.
14 They come in as through a wide breach;
amid the crash they come rolling in.
15 Terrors are turned loose on me;
they drive away my honor like the wind,
and like a cloud my deliverance has passed away.
16 “And now my soul pours itself out within me;
days of suffering take hold of me.
17 Night pierces my bones;
my gnawing pains never cease.
18 With great power God grasps my clothing;
he binds me like the collar of my tunic.
19 He has flung me into the mud,
and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.
20 I cry out to you, but you do not answer me;
I stand up, and you only look at me.
21 You have become cruel to me;
with the strength of your hand you attack me.
22 You pick me up on the wind and make me ride on it;
you toss me about in the storm.
23 I know that you are bringing me to death,
to the meeting place for all the living.
The Contrast With the Past
24 “Surely one does not stretch out his hand
against a broken man
when he cries for help in his distress.
25 Have I not wept for the unfortunate?
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 But when I hoped for good, trouble came;
when I expected light, then darkness came.
27 My heart is in turmoil unceasingly;
the days of my affliction confront me.
28 I go about blackened, but not by the sun;
in the assembly I stand up and cry for help.
29 I have become a brother to jackals
and a companion of ostriches.
30 My skin has turned dark on me;
my body is hot with fever.
31 My harp is used for mourning
and my flute for the sound of weeping.